Doug Sheridan opened Sunspots Studios at its current location in 2000 as a retail location limited to a small area in the front of the current building. In 2001 the retail space was expanded and the first glass shop was built at the back of the gallery. A new glass shop was added into the addition at the back of the gallery in 2004. As Sunspots Studios business grew, the gallery was extended into the area of the original glass studio, and the entire glassblowing operation was moved into the large addition. Almost all of the glass objects found in the gallery are made from Doug Sheridan’s designs — from the Sunspots Ikebana and candle votives, to the patterns on the murrine vases. A team of four glassblowers create the beautiful and unique pieces in the public access studios every day. In 2014 Doug began mixing and melting his own signature colors and installed a 3rd furnace allowing the artists to work with hot color rather than adding cold glass frit to clear glass. More detail on Sunspots colors and the mixing process can be found here.
This paradigm-altering change in the studio lead Doug to experiment withmurrine glass — colored patterns made in a glass cane that are revealed when cut in cross-sections. These slices can be picked up in clear glass and blown out to create elaborate patterned glass pieces. Doug added a kiln to the studio in 2015 which allows the individual slices to be heated, making their edges smooth and round. They can then become jewelry, magnets and other stand-alone objects.
In 2015, Doug learned of a U.S. manufacturer of sodium silicate — a material used in glass making. This company produces the compound in several U.S. plants for use in many different industries, from poultry processing to soap and paint production. When it is shipped in brick form by train, the vibrations cause the glass bricks to rub together, giving off powder and dust. Giant vacuums siphon the dust and debris created by the bricks into giant boxy woven plastic sacks called Super Sacks® that are moved with forklifts. Each Super Sack holds nearly a ton of the waste, but it is of no use to its manufacturer in this form. So if no end use is found before storage space runs out, it will end up in a landfill. Tons of it. Fortunately, this material is adaptable for use in our studios. It now makes up 50% of the materials in the glass we batch and melt here in our studios.
The current studios contain 3 working furnaces, 3 reheating chambers, 2 annealers and a kiln. This is where Doug and his team of glassblowers produce the work you find in our gallery today. You can watch one or more of the artists working in the Sunspots hot shop 7 days a week. They demonstrate for the public until 4pm daily. View portfolios and bios of each artist below.